Mad Dog: Rules are made to be broken. Credit: WikiCommons.

Donald Trump has been busy assembling his administration as he awaits to be inaugurated this next month and there are quite a few nominees of concern. I reported recently on Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and his ties to terror porn propagandist, Brigitte Gabriel.

The nod to Beverly Devos for Secretary of Education should send a shiver down the spine of every public school teacher. Teachers: if you haven’t heard, her family is supports research from think tanks that proposes that you guys are paid too much.

The number of military officials that Trump has picked so far is generally concerning, and somewhat ironic given his past claims that he knows more than they do anyway. In one case — defense secretary nominee James “Mad Dog” Mattis — Trump’s nominee is blocked by rules and regulations and needs a waiver to run the Pentagon.

This is a little arcane for the layman, but on the basis of 10 U.S. Code 113, Mattis, no matter what his qualifications, isn’t eligible to be secretary of defense without a special act of congress. The code states as follows:

(a) There is a Secretary of Defense, who is the head of the Department of Defense, appointed from civilian life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. A person may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force.

But General Mattis is only three years retired.

To date there has only been one exception to this rule and it goes all the way back to the 1950 selection of General George C. Marshall, who had just retired three years earlier. This was made possible by special legislative passed by congress, which said that it applied only to Marshall and could “not to be construed as approval” for any future defense secretaries.

So Mattis needs Congress to grant him a waiver to get the job, and that will take 60 votes, not a simple majority as with other nominees. That means Democrats could unilaterally block Mattis if they wanted to; it could even be payback for the GOP’s refusal to even consider Merrick Garland, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Let’s see how this plays out, but the odds are that the Democrats will follow the advice of Michelle Obama — “When they go low, we go high” — and Mad Dog will sail through the process.

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